Ask if we like electrified vehicles and we’ll say “Yes” for a number of reasons. First, they’re cleaner at the tailpipe, if they have one, and they can be, as we expect will be the case with the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept, fun to drive!
The Toyota Yaris is already a small and light vehicle that has worldwide appeal as a compact, maneuverable, and efficient vehicle. Add Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive to that package and the Toyota Yaris Hybrid is even more efficient, but does suffer a little in the fun-to-drive department.
Of course, that all depends on how Toyota tunes the hybrid system. In the case of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept, it seems that Toyota has tuned mostly toward performance. It’s still a hybrid, but once you see the specifications, it seems that Toyota may have performance pegged with this one.
Toyota won’t officially unveil the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept until the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, they’ve been kind enough to give us some technical details, aside from a couple of exterior renderings.
The hybrid electric powertrain does away with Toyota’s standard nickel-metal hydride and even their advanced lithium-ion rechargeable battery packs and utilizes supercapacitor technology that Toyota developed for the TC030, which took second place in the legendary endurance race, 24hrs of Le Mans. The supercapacitor is desirable because it is more energy-dense than NiMH or Li-ion, making a lighter package for power delivery. Additionally, in a five-second cycle, the supercapacitor can deliver up to 120hp on the track.
The Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept makes use of a 300hp 1.6ℓ direct-injection engine and two 60hp electric drive motors for a total output of 420hp. Interestingly, the front engine is basically just a front-wheel drive system with a third motor, which apparently only functions as a generator to recover energy during regenerative braking. With the addition of twin electric motors in the rear, the concept becomes an exceptionally capable all-wheel drive. Because two motors are used in the rear, an electronic controller can vary torque steering to power through corners better than with a simple differential gear setup.
Image © Toyota